Tips for visit to San Francisco Bay Area?

Hello guys,

April 8 - 13 I’ll visit the San Francisco Bay Area, as a solo traveller. I’ll of course visit famous and scenic places in the area (I’ll have a rental car), but as the geek I am I would be extra interessed in anything “geeky”, and I guess that this area is perfect for this.

So far, I’ve got these geek things on my list:

  • Apple Park / Visitor Center.
  • Googleplex (I’ve seen in videos that there is a gift shop, free colorful bikes and other courisosites).
  • AutoDesk (last time in the area my Uber driver told me about this, not sure what to expect or if anything to see/do/learn, but I’ll check it out).
  • The Tech Museum of Innovation (San Jose).
  • SFO Aviation Museum.
  • Be audience at iOS Today (wanted to do MacBreak Weekly, but Leo is out of office and they don’t record in studio that day).

So - any other tips for a great geek visit? If any of the other big companies have something cool to see, if there is any other museum or anything else, let me know!

And if any fellow Mac Power User want to join me on some of this, let me know! :smiley:


I know that @matthewcassinelli has organised at least one Shortcuts User Group, so it would be worth reaching out to find out if one will be happening when you’re in town if you’re interested in Shortcuts at all!

Not tech-y but I found Muir Woods to be very relaxing and impressive. I think the cool kids call it “forest bathing”. It might be a nice change of pace from the hustle bustle of the SF area. It’s just north across the Golden Gate bridge.

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Sure, great idea. Thanks!

Thanks! I’ve read about it already, but I’ll definatly going now :slight_smile:

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Yoda Statue at Lucasfilm (Presidio)

If you haven’t seen one of their other stores, Fry’s Electronics in San Jose.

The cable car museum is also interesting but maybe not geeky enough.

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Not geeky, but also important, imho: if you care about good food - Ozumo, one of the best japanese restaurants outside of Japan. They have the largest Sake collection in the US.
If you go, try the Black Cod :yum:

Also, spent a day in Sausolito and that whole area - beautiful!

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Old tech, but the cable car museum is pretty neat.

I second Muir Wood.
The HP garage is still around and behind someone’s the HP house. I went by and took a picture. It is considered the birthplace of Silicon Valley.
I went to Xerox PARC and got a photo with the sign. I think it’s important because it’s where the windowing user interface, mouse, laser printer, and Ethernet were invented.
I did a (long) day trip to Yosemite by train. Well worth the time on the train. All adjectives are inadequate.
When I was there, there was a herd of buffalo near SF.
Cable car museum, where you can learn why we have the phrase “payroll”, among other things.
Lombard street
The Painted Ladies
City Lights bookstore

Thank you everybody for great tips! My list is filling up! You’re great!

The linear accelerator at Stanford offers tours twice a month if you’re interested in particle physics.

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If you like old arcade games, you have to visit a place in Fisherman’s Wharf called Musée Mécanique – it’s one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to. It’s a “museum” of arcade machines, but they’re all playable.

The owner rides around inside on roller skates with quarters to make change, and he’s always fixing broken machines and stuff like that. They have classic 80s arcade games and things much, much older that really look like they belong in a museum.

Pier 45, Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco, CA 94133

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Awesome list! May I suggest swapping out the San Jose tech museum to the computer history museum. It’s right down the street from Google in Mountain View and in my opinion way better than the tech museum. It could be because I’ve lived here my whole life but the tech museum is kinda outdated and more for kids.

I think there is a Babbage Engine at the Computer History Museum that I would :heart: to see!

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I know it was generically mentioned, but if it is clear on Friday or Saturday night, the Chabot Space & Science Center in the Oakland hills will have their telescopes open to the public. My son went this week and came home saying his mind was blown.

Can confirm, it’s an amazing sight.

Thanks again for all your great ideas and tips! It’s looking to be an amazingly cool trip for me :sunny:

@petterhol If you’re headed to Muir Woods, look into the shuttle. Parking is by reservation only.

If you’re down on the Peninsula (San Jose, Mtn. View, Palo Alto, etc.), heading over to Big Basin Redwoods State Park may be more convenient, less crowded, and will let you see lots of big trees!

If landing at SFO, consider driving into San Francisco using the Great Highway. It may avoid some traffic, depending on your destination. You can get anywhere in the city from this highway.

Beach Chalet restaurant, 1000 Great Highway San Francisco. Near Golden Gate Park. Provides a nice afternoon break. Free parking, great lunch menu, not expensive. Amazing ocean view from almost any table. Try the Pacific Chowder in a sourdough bowl. The famous Cliff House is just up the road.

Legion of Honor Museum. 100 34th Avenue Lincoln Park, San Francisco 94121. Free parking. Stunning views from the hilltop as you walk from parking to the building. If you don’t have time to go inside, drive to its hilltop parking, get out and walk around for the view of the Golden Gate and the Bay through the cypress trees. You won’t regret it.
A Monet exhibit is running, if time allows. Best to purchase tickets ahead.

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco. At least drive by if time doesn’t allow you to stop and walk around. 3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco CA 94123

The retail store at Apple Campus, 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino. Sells one-of-a-kind merchandise not sold elsewhere. About two miles from Apple Park; you mentioned you were going to Apple Park, it’s nearby. I recently shopped at both locations, each had fun, one-of-a-kind merchandise.

On the way to San Jose, the massive Rodin Collection at Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center. The Stanford campus is special, even if you just drive through without stopping. Cantor Arts Center has free admission, if I remember correctly. The Rodin collection is inside as well as in the garden. The garden is a pleasant surprise.

On the way back to SF from iOS Today, drive to downtown Tiburon. Park near Main Street, such as in the theater parking lot, at or near 40 Main Street, Belvedere Tiburon CA 94920. Parking probably will not be free. Get an ice cream or snack at one of the nearby storefronts and walk the promenade for the view of SF from across the Bay.

If you like garlic, you should visit my favorite San Francisco restaurant, The Stinking Rose.

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